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The natural history of the overactive bladder syndrome in females: A long-term analysis of a health screening project


  • Heinz Koelbl led the peer review process.

  • Conflicts of interest: none.



To analyze the natural history of the overactive bladder (OAB) syndrome in women over a period of 6.5 years.


Women participating in a health screening survey in the area of Vienna in 1998/1999 underwent a detailed health investigation and completed the Bristol Female Lower Urinary Tract Symptom (BFLUTS) Questionnaire. In 2005 all women who were still living in the area of Vienna, were contacted by mail to complete the BFLUTS questionnaire again.


A total of 386 women with a mean age of 54 years (range: 21–81 years) entered this study and were all followed for a mean of 6.5 years. At baseline, the prevalence of OAB was 19.4% (n = 75/386) and increased to 27.2% (105/386) 6.5 years later resulting in an average annual progression rate of 1.2%. The incidence was 19.3% (n = 60/311; average annual rate: 2.9%), a remission was seen in 40% (n = 30/75; average annual rate: 6.2%), stable disease in 41.3% (n = 31/75; average annual rate: 6.4%), a progression was noticed in 6.7% (n = 5/75; average annual rate: 1.0%) and an improvement in 12% (n = 9/75; average annual rate: 1.8%). Women with a full remission were 49.9 years (±13 years), those with stable disease 58.2 years (±9.3 years), those with improvement 57.4 years (±10.4 years), those with deterioration 61.8 years (±12.8 years) and those with de novo OAB 57.3 years (±12.3 years).


OAB is a dynamic disease with long-lasting stable disease courses as well as remissions and progressions. Neurourol. Urodynam. Neurourol. Urodynam. 30: 1437–1441, 2011. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.